Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pho at Home

1 Large White Onion
1 Piece of Ginger
3 Cloves of Garlic
3 lbs. Beef Soup Bones
1 t Coriander Seeds
1 t Black Peppercorns
3 Whole Cloves
3 Star Anise
1 Cinnamon Stick
4 T Salt
2 T Sugar
1 Package of Dry or Fresh Pho Noodles
1/2 lb. of Thinly Sliced Sirloin
1 Package of Beef Meatballs

Lime Wedges
Bean Sprouts
Cilantro leaves
Thai Basil
Ngo Gai
White Onion, sliced
Green Onions, sliced
Fried Garlic
Fish Sauce

1. Char onion and ginger on a gas stovetop. Then I like to place the onion, ginger, and garlic in a preheated oven (350) for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before removing burnt parts.

2. Make a sachet by putting the coriander seeds, star anise, peppercorns, and cloves into a piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine.

3. Place soup bones in a stock pot and cover with water. Parboil soup bones. Remove from heat and rinse bones. Clean stock pot. Put bones back in pot and add 4-5 quarts of water. Bring it to a boil then lower heat and let it simmer. Add garlic, onion, ginger, sachet, and cinnamon stick. Simmer on low for 3 hours. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Let soup cool. Remove bones, sachet, onion, ginger, garlic, and cinnamon stick. Strain soup. Cover pot with lid and put in refrigerator overnight.

4. Take stock pot out of refrigerator and remove fat from the soup. Reheat soup, add meatballs and simmer.

5. Prepare noodles. If using dry noodles, I presoak them in water before cooking them. Blanch noodles in boiling water then strain water from noodles. Bring soup to a boil.

6. To assemble a bowl of pho: Place blanched noodles in bowl, add raw meat, then hot soup with meatballs. The way I like my pho is to then garnish with the fried garlic, cilantro, green and white onion, thai basil, and lots of bean sprouts. Then I'll add fish sauce, black pepper, and a squeeze of lime.

When I made my pho, I didn't have all the ingredients that I wanted. It was a spur of the moment thing and I used what I had on hand, which wasn't bad. But I didn't have meat, meatballs, the herbs, well done flank steak, brisket, tendons, or (my favorite thing to eat with my pho) my mom's pickled birdseye peppers. I like a clear broth with very little oil. I don't add sriracha or hoisin sauce.